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Thanksgiving Salad Suggestions

Any suggestions for an amazing salad to serve for Thanksgiving? It will be on a buffet. I'm hoping something using fruit, nuts, and maybe cheese. Thanks you!

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  1. Maybe something like this would work?


    It's do-ahead.

    1. Personally, I'd skip it if your overall menu is made up of the usual suspects. There's plenty of food already, including multiple vegetables. People don't need to fill up on salads and appetizers. That said, mesclun with roasted beets, feta, candied pecans, and dried cranberries with a vinaigrette (pomegranate vinegar a plus) is a nice, and colorful, fall salad.

      2 Replies
      1. re: greygarious

        I know you are right...but I'm feeling a lot of pressure to do spectacular this year. My husband was working last Thanksgiving and will be again in 2010....so I feel like I need to make up for not having his family here. (Maybe I'll just serve a lot of liquor so they won't care how the food is.)

        1. re: DaisyM

          DM...we all have our own philosophies and traditions for this time of year, Dear God, I know...but I've added a fresh dark green salad for about 10 years now...really lightens everything up a bit and people have remarked how refreshing a somewhat bare-bones leafy salad can be...it's usually just dark romaine, cukes, finely chopped red onion and tomatoes -- I'm in Florida so they are available at this time of year, I know that's not true for everyone.

      2. Arugula or Mesclun with red onion, grape tomatoes, goat cheese, walnuts, and dried cherries or cranberries. Balsamic vinaigrette.

        1. That compote does look very nice for Thanksgiving posted by BangorDin! Here's one to consider and the presentation is beyond compare...someone brought this to our work Holiday luncheon in 2008...those pomegranate seeds sparkled like jewels and we were all floored and it TASTES awesome! You could scale back on the proscuitto a bit if you think meat in the salad is too much...Katie added good quality shaved parmesan-reggiano--you could probably use just that instead of the proscuitto...whatever, it's a most beautiful salad:

          1. I LOVE this salad for Thanksgiving, though no longer make it since every year it was only mom and I who ate salad. Sigh, I guess it's "too healthy" for the rest of my guests. I cut down the sugar to one tsp. One year I added goat cheese too.

            Apple, Dried Cherry, and Walnut Salad with Maple Dressing

            4 Replies
            1. re: Rubee

              Geez, this sounds so interesting with the maple syrup dressing! I think I'll try it just to bring to lunch next week! Sons are not fond of mixing greens with fruit so doubt I would try it for our Thanksgiving (I have to be vewy vewy caweful!) but thanks for that post Rubee!

              1. re: Val

                I'd like to know what you think! My husband isn't a fan of fruit in salad either (or salad, for that matter!), but I love the sweet/tangy combination and the nuts in this salad. I have two girlfriends who have requested the recipe and it's now their contribution when asked to bring something to a Thanksgiving dinner.

                1. re: Rubee

                  The one green salad/fruit combo I know I despise is when a salad has mandarin oranges in it...OMG...to me, it is so disgusting! But, that's just me! Mandarin oranges are okay..(LOL, I live in Florida so I'll be da**ed if I'll buy canned oranges but you know, in certain fruit dishes, they'd be acceptable) and salads I LOVE but together...ugh! Rubee, I promise when I try it, I will let you know! I'm not always great about actually trying my "to try" recipes but I do make efforts!

                  1. re: Val

                    I agree - can't remember the last time I had canned mandarin oranges in a salad.

                    But speaking of oranges - Here's another favorite salad. It's a winter salad from Goin's "Sunday Suppers". I love the combination (greens, blood oranges, though I've used regular oranges, dates, reggiano, and almonds), and it's easy too. It's my go-to salad for NYE or Christmas...


            2. Every Holiday we must have layer salad on the table...it is always the first thing to go.

              1. A dark green salad (I use a little romaine, lots of escarole and a little spinach). Caesar dressing made with balsamic vinegar. Plenty of shredded asiago cheese. To this you can add very thin slices of peeled granny smith apple that've been quickly tossed in some orange juice. The only other thing I'd add, as a variation, would be crisp bacon crumbles.

                1. I’ve somehow become obsessed with the idea of a butternut squash salad for Thanksgiving this year, which I’m hoping will justify a salad’s place at the T-Day table (at least to my mother). Selections from my googling below, including all manner of nuts; fruits including dried cranberries, apple, pear and pomegranate; some with prosciutto or bacon; and cheeses such as blue, feta, and parm. The last on the list features thin-sliced curls of fresh rather than roasted squash, which would be an attractive, lighter way to go.


                  2 Replies
                  1. re: intuitive eggplant

                    smitten kitchen's butternut squash and chickpea salad! or do a nice one with roasted butternut squash, cranberries, carmelized onions, walnuts and sage (one of my favorite combinations)

                    1. re: intuitive eggplant

                      I have made this recipe for the last few years. It is so yummy, savory and delicious. It was a recipe I modified and it was called a salad. I hope you give it a try and enjoy it.

                    2. I think a composed salad is a perfect start to the Thanksgiving meal, particularly if you've had appetizers and drinks ahead -- to perk up one's palette.
                      But since you're serving buffet style, maybe not. Although you could "compose" on a large platter. Or make up individual plates to place at each person's place setting.
                      I like: lettuce, roasted beets, goat cheese, toasted walnuts& roasted peppers w/ a vinaigrette.

                      1. This is not that different from many suggestions above, but I made this salad for Thanksgiving 3 years ago and now my extended family requests it for every occasion:

                        Mixed greens, chopped dried papaya, crumbled mild bleu cheese, halved grapes, sliced pear, carmelized pecans. For a dressing, I do equal parts olive oil, red wine vinegar, and reduced pomegranate juice (I guess pomegranate molasses, I make it myself) plus lots of salt and pepper.

                        I think it's the papaya where you would so commonly expect cranberry that really excited the group. Using significant s&p in the dressing I think makes a big difference too.

                        1. If there are likely to be any vegans or people with dairy allergies present consider skipping the cheese. Apples, cranberries, walnuts or pecans (for wild rice pilaf)? Depending on what part of the country you're in, you may still be able to get fresh spinach...

                          1. If you are cooknig for a large crowd, I think a salad is a great idea. So many of the thanksgiving sides are very rich and some people may appreciate a lighter option.

                            1. Shredded endive, grated apple, thinly sliced fennel, dried cranberries, toasted walnuts, blue cheese crumbles tossed in a light (lemon or cider vinegar based) vinaigrette.

                              1. I made a salad last year for Thanksgiving that went over very well- Arugula, sugar snap peas, fennel, toasted almonds, Pomegranate seeds, ricotta salata and a gremolata dressing. I still get requests for this- will definitely be making it again this year :-)

                                1. I recently made a very simple spinach salad with dried/moist slivered apricots and shallots - the dressing did have some sweetness to it (maybe honey) - for the life of me can't remember where I found the recipe but it was fantastic.

                                  My son makes a fantastic shaved brussel sprout salad with brown butter, parm, lemon juice - not at all what I had expected, it was fantstic and nice presentation.